While writing in the studio on Friday, my critic began to rear her ugly head (why is my critic a woman?!) and I worked hard to overcome her. I let her have her say, I didn’t try to repress or ignore her. I gave her only 5 minutes to say everything that she could in those 5 minutes, but then I cut her off. In those 5 minutes she reminded me of my big fear of actually putting words to paper — the permanence of such an act–and being judged for those words. She then proceeded to tell me that I had nothing new to say. She then didn’t hold any punches and reminded me that there is always going to be someone smarter, better, and wittier than me…so why even try.
I then reminded myself that all the great writers say to write what you know…and so I did. And what follows is what came to mind…
June 1 has felt like a bit of a New Year’s beginning. Starting this week I’ll have a new schedule and just on cue, the weather has turned hot in Houston. This change in the month/seasons has been marked in our family by this book. I have also given myself another 30-day challenge — which I may or may not share. (So far though, day two, and I’m still on track!)
I was thinking of coming up with a Summer manifesto. Maybe it needs to be illustrated and not just put on a post-it. But this manifesto will include enjoying every ounce of the longest days of the year (another reason I love June) by riding bikes and grilling out more. I know by August and September I’ll be shuddered indoors like it’s the dead of winter in Michigan, so I want to take advantage of not melting while I can. But mostly I want to create more… more of everything.
And soon I’ll get to create with words and hopefully with some of you. This week marks the start of the summer writing workshops, so if you’re in Houston, let’s write together (Tuesdays & Fridays).
Nothing like a good kick in the pants from Stephen King… now get to work!
Hey Houston Writers!
The dates are set and I’m ready to write! I’m trying something new this summer and instead of trying to organize several six-week sessions, I want people to just come and write when they can. (Yea commitment-phobes!) Summer is full of unpredictable schedules, but you can count on getting your creative fix at SWWS every Tuesday and/or Friday starting in June going through August.
So the schedule is as follows: Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm & Fridays 1-3pm. ($20 per session) || Saturdays June 21, July 19, & August 16 from 9am – 1pm ($35 per session) *If you just want to come try it, your first session is always free!* Come to one, come to them all!
SWWS has also joined Instagram. I’m not a big fan of most social media, but this is a platform I can get behind. I’m a lover of words + pictures and I’m excited to engage fellow creatives in this unique space.
Click on the links up top to learn more about the method I facilitate and to sign up!
I came across this mesmerizing little video and I’d like to think this is what our books do when we’re away. Kudos to the creators! I’ve been so busy reading and writing and I’ve got good things cooking over here, including a soon-to-be-annouced workshop schedule and a Summer Writing Series. So stay tuned and sign up for all the listings and upcoming dates!
I did it! I wrote for 28-days in a row — first thing in the morning. Like I said before, the public accountability certainly helped a little, but really, I just wanted to do it. I love setting small goals and accomplishing them. And a 28-day goal seemed completely do-able. And it was.
I am as you might say, a bit of a cynic at times. I thought I would do this little “exercise” 1.) to make sure that I stayed focused on something that has something to do with writing and 2.) there’s a tiny little off chance that something might come of it.
Well, put egg all over my face because those pages were magic. All 103 pages of long-form, hand-written pages. I’m glad that I didn’t do the quick math in my head on day 1 because the thought of filling 84 pages would have been too much. So, I only thought of writing three…which turned into six. And there were a few more days just like that. And as I counted my filled pages last night, I couldn’t believe that I got passed 100.
I did just as Julia recommends and so many of my first words were about how grumpy, sleepy, and inconsolably frustrated I was at our cat. But somehow as my pen kept moving words would string together to form thoughts that I didn’t know I had still swimming around up there. A lot of it was just processing my dreams. I’ve got crazy vivid dreams (which I love). But somewhere around day 19 something clicked and a story began to form. Something I have been processing in my personal life started to take shape in the form of a story — a bit of creative non-fiction (with heavy emphasis on the fiction). But stranger still is that I was developing this story with vivid images, scenes if you will. I kept bouncing from scene to scene. It felt shaky, raw…like I was standing on fishes. On day 26 the hubs had to almost pull my journal from my hands as he ran around the house frantic that I had only 10 minutes left to get ready for the day.
And that my friends is the sweet spot — getting lost in time and space because the words are pouring out. What I wouldn’t have given to just continue to sit and write for hours more.
If I am honest, I am fearful that it is just a spark, one that will not turn into a flame. However, I am somewhat afraid of that flame. And afraid that I will put it out. I want to face it and find the courage to continue this creative pursuit.
If there’s one thing that I’ve gleaned from this, it’s that these morning pages seemed to have freed me from my usual “paralysis by analysis” and that I would like to keep my hand moving.
I like everything about this idea. I’ve even thought about doing something similar. This is the power of story + people, connecting. One of the things I like most about a typewriter is that it is immediate gratification, while ironically, slowing down time. What I mean by that is that I cannot type on a typewriter near as fast as I can my computer and I have to be more deliberate because once that key pounds the page, there is no going back. No delete. No Spellcheck. Thus, it slows my process — but just like the Polaroid, I get to have it in my hot little hands immediately after I rip it out from the carriage. The words don’t just sit on a digital page, never meeting the 8.5 by 11 white space they should call home. And this guy gets that. (Oh, and how brave to engage with strangers!!!)
There is also a great little bit on the website about cyber bullying and the author’s attempt to navigate those rough waters.
I can’t believe it’s only been 11 days since I started my morning pages challenge. However, out of the other side of my mouth, I can’t believe I’ve stuck with it for 11 days! As predicted, writing in the morning is TOUGH for me. It seems that my first few words are always: sleepy. tired. grumpy. It has also served as a great place to record my dreams. They have been active and weird lately. But I’ve found a bit of a rhythm and it’s always hard to cut myself off in order to get ready for the day. Saturday morning’s pages were great because I could write as long as I wanted. I hate racing the morning clock. I have learned that it takes me about 15 to write the three pages. You would think that I could get up earlier, but it’s just not possible. But a clock does make me get right to it, spit out what I want to say. I started on the first day with an unexpected genre (or theme rather?) and I have continued building on it each day — even if it’s only one of the three pages. We’ll see if it turns into something more. For now, I’m just sticking to the plan — three pages, first thing in the morning.
P.S. So this weekend I discovered this new app that turns your photos into watercolor portraits… Umm, maybe I spent too much time playing with it!